Gaming / Social

Industry heavyweights form International Social Gaming Coalition

Zynga, Gamesys and Caesars Interactive announced among founding members under leadership of Luc Delany and Paul Mathews.

A number of leading social casino brands have joined forces to form the International Social Gaming Coalition, an association designed to help educate people about the free-to-play space and provide a strong voice in the debate around social regulation.

The founding members of the group were announced at the Social Casino Summit at this year’s Global iGaming Summit & Expo (GiGSE) in San Francisco earlier this week. The association has been established by DoubleDown, RocketPlay, PlayStudios, Zynga, Plumbee, IGT, Caesars Interactive Entertainment, Aristocrat MGM and Gamesys.

It will be led by Facebook’s former European policy manager Luc Delany under the chairmanship of Playstudios COO and co-founder Paul Mathews.

Speaking to Social Casino Intelligence this afternoon, Mathews explained that the group will look to bring in new members from both the gambling and non-gambling sector adding that “there is nothing fundamentally different” between social casino and other social genres.

“I think the chatter in the industry is about regulation of gambling-style games so naturally our founders are in that space,” he explained. “So yes, we do want members who are strictly social to work along with the gambling partners.”

The International Social Gaming Coalition will establish information sharing agreements between members and aim to educate regulators, governments and media companies about the sector – something which Mathews claimed will ensure the industry is accepted as a legitimate entity.

“A lot of the questions which have been raised can easily be answered if companies are prepared to share this information. I think that when [these groups] understand what we do they will see there is a solution which seems to portrayed as in search of a problem at the moment,” Mathews said.

The coalition will also set standards for best practice in areas such as player protection and customer service for the social gaming sector.

Mathews revealed that initial discussions around forming an operator association began “late summer, early autumn” last year, before the decision to formalise the structure was taken at the ICE Totally Gaming conference in February 2013. This also saw the companies open discussions with Delany, who left his role at Facebook 10 days ago to take up his new role.

Mathews also admitted that the organisation could look to merge with the existing Social Gaming Association – formed under the leadership of former Sportingbet counsel Stuart Tilly in November last year.

“We will look to work with the SGA and will sort out the confusion as to what we each do in due course,” he explained. “At the moment it is unclear whether the organisations will remain separate, but this will be resolved in the coming months.”

Article available on Social Casino Intelligence